The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is asking the research community for best practices and policy prescriptions for securing certain U.S. government research and development (R&D) efforts. On August 10, 2021, OSTP Director Dr. Eric Lander published a statement, entitled “Clear Rules for Research Security and Researcher Responsibility,” in which he laid out the Biden administration’s plans to develop clear and effective implementation guidance for National Security Presidential Memorandum-33 (NSPM-33). This document, issued in the final days of the Trump administration, is intended to “strengthen protections of United States Government-supported R&D against foreign government interference and exploitation” while “maintaining an open environment to foster research discoveries and innovation that benefit our nation and the world.”
In conjunction with the National Security Council, Cabinet agencies, and other federal agencies, OSTP seeks to address three primary areas of concern: 1) disclosure policy, 2) oversight and enforcement, and 3) research security programs.
Our submission recommends:
- OSTP should spearhead the creation of harmonized conflict of interest (COI) policies and disclosure requirements across U.S. government agencies that issue basic fundamental research grants.
- OSTP should encourage the establishment of an amnesty program for COI reporting during the period of FY2023-2025 to allow universities and research institutions the opportunity to align their institutional policies with anticipated new requirements from the federal government.
- OSTP should spearhead a communications and outreach strategy regarding the roles and responsibilities across the research security ecosystem.